Technical Tuesday: Colour Work!

I can’t believe I have not done a Technical Tuesday on colour work! I have been working on my secret project. I’ll drop you a hint and tell you that it includes colour work. I swear! That is all you’re getting though!
I have done colour work on a number of things and first and foremost in our minds are the fiddlehead mittens! I’ve knit two pairs recently, Sara’s Wedding Mittens and Shauna’s Mittens. This kind of colour work is very addicting to me. It feels almost therapeutic to go through a chart and see the colour pattern reveal itself. I am always checking what I have knit so far to see if I can see the design!

At first it is a little bit difficult, but once you get the hang of knitting with two colours it is nothing at all! I know I say this about everything, but if you keep on a technique long enough, it won’t be as painful.

I still remember writing a post about my loathing of double pointed needles and now I don’t think I could live without them. I harbour a deep and passionate love for DPN’s and pretty much every technique I used to hate. All the techniques I found really difficult but wanted to perfect are now all my favourites!

Regardless of how difficult a technique might seem I am telling you to keep on it because it will totally be worth it in the end!

Wedding Mittens!!

I can’t believe it is Wednesday again, I think the days before Christmas fly by faster and faster every year. Speaking of flying by, Sara’s wedding is coming up and that means the deadline for her wedding mitts are too! Two and a half weeks left to go!

Wedding Mittens 2

I’ve been working on the mittens whenever I get a chance to do some sit-down knitting as opposed to the one row here or there I normally get. Which means I have been making some great headway on them, but feel like I am slacking off at the same time. I always watch TV when I do my sit-down knitting, so I feel as though I have been watching a lot of TV.
They’re looking really great though, I actually had to rip out about an inch of work the other day because when I started the pattern again, I started at the wrong spot. The curl was going completely the wrong way. I only noticed when I got up to the decreases for the top of the mitten and thought to myself that it looks quite shallow for a mitten.
You would have had to curl your fingers up in order to get the mitten on. So I rectified the mistake and kept on knitting. I actually managed to finish the outside of the first mitten while Sara was here. This was super satisfying because Sara is one of the most grateful people in the world. Especially since she, herself, knits; she knows the amount of work that goes into making a garment.

Wedding Mittens 1

I am going to make both outer shells, block them, then pick up the stitches for the lining. I can’t wait to see what they look like with the little hidden blue lining! They are going to be beautiful and last forever. I’ve been knitting them fairly tightly so in 1000 years people on an archeological dig will find these bad boys.

Sidekick Saturday! Sara Part 2

Enter the two-colour knitted mittens. Now, I know what you’re thinking (No, I’m not actually psychic… but I can hazard a good guess).. “She’s rather bold to start knitting something so.. intense.” And yes.. I am *wink* … but I had a great friend at my side helping me along the way. She taught me to properly purl.. instead of adding on a stitch every time (oops!); she taught me how to catch my yarns across x number of stitches, and she lent me her set of 4mm double pointed needles. (while they have their place towards the end of my mittens and even for the thumb… I dislike the way they look at me).IMG_20140709_150617

I searched high and low through Ravelry to locate a nice mitten in a Norwegian style, as that was the look I was going for. I came across a free pattern for “Selbu Mittens” and immediately looked through all of the different colour palettes people had tried. I already knew my colour selection – a sparkly winter white contrasted with gorgeous evergreen. Michelle and I searched a local yarn supplier for the goods – with her help, I settled on Cascade 220 for the dark green and Sirdar Snuggly Pearls for the winter white. I originally bought two balls of the white (a slightly lighter weight yarn than the Cascades 220) and one skein of dark green. This was enough to do 5 full individual mittens, and I still have some leftover before starting the second mitten of the third pair.

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That’s right…the third pair! I chose these two specific colours because they’re my wedding colours. My bridesmaids dresses are all dark “pine” green and our accent colour is glittery/sparkly white. It took what seemed like forever to finish the first pair. I followed the pattern exactly (with a bit of a change to the cuff) and boy was it intense. I am very proud of these mittens, even if they’re a bit wibbly here and there. I don’t knit every night..sometimes I’m just not in the right mindset. I might have –plans- to knit, but either I fall asleep, or I get distracted on pinterest or doing other crafty things. As such, this first pair of mittens did take me the better part of forever to complete.

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Originally I had planned on making my bridesmaids (x3) all the same pair of mitten – the same exact pattern. But after creating the first pair and realising just how long it took me to finish them, I thought it might be a smart idea to create a slightly less daunting pattern. The first was a traditional Norwegian snowflake, the second, a more simplistic star pattern. It went quite well. Onto the third – the pair I’m half way through completing. This last pair will be for my MoH – I decided to create her pair with a pattern of hearts, dots and two little stars. It turned out better than I could’ve hoped for. I have yet to complete the thumb on the first mitten and I still have ends to weave in, but its lookin’ pretty fancy.

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I used Excel to plan out the same number of stitches as the original mitten pattern and then used dark green to colour in a different design. This basically included counting out the main “square” of the pattern I had gotten from Ravelry and selecting those boxes on a new excel spread sheet. After outlining those boxes, I added the triangle of boxes that makes up the finger-area of the mitten and also counted out boxes where the thumb gusset is. Once I had selected and outline all the boxes, I changed the settings in excel to make all of the boxes more square like (as opposed to the rectangles you start with on a new spreadsheet).

instructions for excel (basic)

I would definitely recommend saving at this point as “blank mitten pattern” so that you can use it for any and all future designs for this style of mitten. This came in handy for me because I needed to create two separate designs for my bridesmaids. I feel like this is a really great way to slowly work into creating your own patterns from scratch. You take what you learn from a pattern you love and try to change it up a little to fit your own style. Since I’m not selling these mittens, I don’t feel too nervous about using the same base as the original Ravelry pattern.

blank to full pics

My plans for future wedding knitting include a pair of fiddlehead mittens for myself – I’ve chosen only three colours in keeping with my bridesmaids’ mittens. A soft winter white (slightly warmer), and a mellow sage green – still my wedding colours, but a bit less contrast involved. I chose periwinkle blue for the lining. If I don’t manage blue anywhere else, this can be my “something blue” for the wedding! I have no doubt that the pattern isn’t as crazy as it seems, given that Michelle wrote a wonderful post about it (“honourable mentions”). She mentions the pattern appears quite daunting, but turned out to be enjoyable to knit and a great learning experience. When it doubt… “googleit”

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I’m hoping to have enough time for a secret project for my hubby-to-be using one of Michelle’s gorgeous jewel toned greens. I will have to fully research the pattern I’m considering and ask some intense questions before I commit myself. And I will likely have to knit it in secret so that the man-friend doesn’t know what I’m creating.

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This rounds out my two part post on an introduction to two colour knitting…not concise at all! I hope to write again soon for Michelle’s blog before potentially starting up my own page to showcase new and exciting expressions of creativity.

Knock on Wood

With the Kitchener/Waterloo knitters fair coming up, I really need to get on top of dyeing all the yarn I would like to sell there. I realized the other day that they dyeing was only half my battle. I need to knit samples as well! I have a few friends who have volunteered to make a couple garments as samples, but I am the main source.

Ombre 2

I’ve had the Ombre Cardigan planned for a little while. My friend, Lena, gave me the idea for the colours and I couldn’t get it out of my head. My Citrine Label yarn was the perfect match for this pattern. Soft and light, it is deliciously luxurious. I can’t wait to finish it and actually wear it!

Since I need a couple other samples I will probably make a few pairs of socks, a shawlette, hats, scarves and anything else that would strike my fancy. I suppose the best advertising is the kind you wear right? I’ll have to make Paul something as well. Maybe a vest? He gets so warm that a sweater is not really practical.

Ombre 1

As you know from Monday’s post, it wasn’t the smoothest of starts, but everything is going along nicely now. I think I may have just cursed myself, but what is life without a challenge? I am really enjoying the Ombre Cardigan, but it may be partly the yarn. It is so soft yet not slippery at all! I am absolutely reveling in this knitting! I may have come to detente with lace…

On the other side I am still working on a random vanilla sock and Shauna’s mittens. I haven’t really had all too much time to knit! I am sure every knitter feels that at some point; life must go on.

Mittens and no Socks at All!

I have officially started Shauna’s mittens. I was home last week and realized, I had all my blogging done, I didn’t need to do any dyeing and it would be the perfect time to knit something! Unfortunately I didn’t have anything started. Before the moment passed and fate dropped by to give me something else to do, I jumped up and started to ball the yarn for my next set of fiddlehead mittens.

Fiddlehead Yarnz

Getting the yarn was actually an adventure in itself! I asked Shauna if she wanted a different colour scheme or yarn, but she wanted hers to be as close to mine as I could manage. Having knit the mittens from a Tanis Fiber Arts kit SERVERAL years ago, I would have to work from scratch. TFA was no longer making the kits. Around the same time they were being discontinued, I had offered to make Alanna a pair as well. I ended up driving to Guelph just to find the last kit carried by retailers!

Green Blue

Along with no longer making the kits, TFA have updated their colours since then. You need a total of six colours to complete the mittens. I ended up heading to the Purple Purl in Toronto because they’re one of the last retailers actually carrying TFA yarn. I had the pattern handy with all the yardage needed as well as the mittens themselves so I could match the colours as best I could. I, of course, forgot all of this at home.

Purple Red

Alanna came with me and guided me through the public transit system until we were finally in front of the store. I didn’t realize I had forgotten to bring the pattern and mitten until I was looking at the yarn going ‘what colours is it again?’ Luckily, one of the store staff had knit the same mittens and had one there for me to look at. She also managed to remember the colour names that stayed the same! I would have been lost without her, but the staff at the Purple Purl are always amazing!

Red Orange

I had to change out some of the colours that stayed the same because they didn’t go well with the colours I had to sub in. It is the same progression of green, blue, purple, red and orange, but the shades all have to go nicely together. There was also the question of the base or main colour. The one included with the kit is sand, but I don’t think it really went well with the rest of the shades, they were on the cool side of the colour spectrum and sand has red/orange undertones. I bought a skein of Sand and Chris Grey; the grey is a cooler colour and not very far off from the sand, I am going to knit a pair in each and see how they look.

Fiddlehead Beginning

I am hoping to have a little of the main colour leftover from these mittens so I can try out the child size modification of this pattern. I am not sure how it will turn out but I really can’t wait to see.